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Mapping

Map Monday - A new way of looking at time zones

  • Mar 23, 2014
  • 211 words
  • 1 minutes
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Turns out, there’s more than one way to map time. In the 1800s, each town had its own time zone, based on where the sun was in their individual patch of sky. This didn’t matter when the fastest transportation available was horse and buggy. But as people got better at moving quickly from one town to the next, things started getting complicated.

Specifically, we built railroads. Departure times were tricky to coordinate when the time could change by seven minutes as you moved down the road. It was while working on railway timetables that Canadian engineer and surveyor Sir Sandford Fleming thought of universal standard time.

This led to the eventual division of 24 time zones, with Greenwich, England serving as exact noon (this is why Asia and Australia see the world’s first sunrise.) Usually, you see the time zones depicted like this.

But comic artist Randall Munroe created this unconventional map of the world’s time zones. It may not be quite as exact as some other maps, but it does seem a lot more user-friendly if you were trying to get a sense of when to call a friend on the other side of the world.

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